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Day 15 – Sun. Apr. 26th: Parks and Wind

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<– Day 14 –  Sat. Apr. 25th: Saddleblankets to Prada | TRIP OVERVIEW | Day 16 – Mon. Apr. 27th: Frontier Texas –>


An overlook at Big Bend National Park (looking west)

Today we drove and drove.

2015-04-26-alpine-odessaThe first part of the trip took us south toward the Mexico border at Presidio, Texas. Along the way, we encountered ‘Elephant Rock’, which we felt lived up to its name.


Called Elephant Rock for an obvious reason.

Eventually we reached Presidio, a dusty dry border town. I am not entirely sure what the appeal is for living in that area; it looks like plenty of shops and stores were out of business.


Ruins of an old house in Presidio


Ruins of old building in Presidio


Ruins of old truck in Presidio

When we turned southeast, we began to follow the Rio Grande as it winds between Big Bend Ranch State Park in Texas and Parque Nacional Canon de Santa Elena in Mexico. The Rio Grande was quiet and calm on this day, hardly the river featured by Hollywood. However, there are so many arroyo tributaries that dump into the Rio Grande. It is easy to imagine that the Rio Grande swells quickly in the rainy season.


That’s Mexico across the very tame Rio Grande


The road as it winds west along the Rio Grande


The road as it winds east along the Rio Grande. In the far background are the mountains of the National Park.

This Teepee lunch site was a welcome relief and provided plenty of shade.


The terrain of the State and the National Park reminded us both of the Mesa’s we’ve seen throughout the Colorado Plateau, so the views weren’t altogether new to us. We’d hope to have some good view points to observe the deep and narrow canyons sometimes featured in photos of Big Bend National Park, but we never encountered any overlooks to provide us of views like that. We finally found the views in books at the Visitor’s Center.


Obligatory sign photo


We had most of the park to ourselves.

After exploring deep into Big Bend with a trip down to Castolon and its visitor center, we turned back and began our trek back out of the park. While writing this post, I finally got my hands on the national park map for Big Bend — which I never bothered to open because I thought we had a detailed map — it turns out our trip through the park could have been much more interesting. There are unmaintained roads that would have allowed us to travel from Castolon on the west side of the park to the Rio Grande Village on the eastern side. If you have all wheel drive, I’d recommend giving that a try if you visit Big Bend National Park.

By mid afternoon, as we left the Panther Junction Visitors Center, the winds began to pick up. The further north we went, the worse the winds got. As we cut through Fort Stockton, they got really bad; dust and dirt was flying, Ann looked for tornados, while the wind rocked the jeep. We had no desire to get out and take photos, but I did quickly take these two in Fort Stockton.


We tried to visit the old fort, but it was all closed.


I think this Road Runner is reader to run out of this windy place!

We landed in Odessa in the early evening, got some food, and retired to our computers. Hopefully, the wind will relax on Monday. Speaking of Monday, we have a couple points of interest as we work our way near Waco.

<– Day 14 –  Sat. Apr. 25th: Saddleblankets to Prada | TRIP OVERVIEW | Day 16 – Mon. Apr. 27th: Frontier Texas –>


2 Comments on “Day 15 – Sun. Apr. 26th: Parks and Wind

  1. Mom

    Referring to Presidio, one often wonders why people live where they do. It looks pretty bleak there, but if you want low property taxes, that looks like the place to be. I’m sure you will find out that Texas has a lot of wind, as does Oklahoma.

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